Spreading the Love - A Love to Die For
(Ever After | Art by Ryan Alexander Lee)
Making Planeswalker Sparks Fly
Hey everyone! Kya here once again! Welcome back to Spreading the Love, the series where we show EDH is more than just about the deck or the game itself. Here we focus on how to use EDH to expand our communities for even more spellslinging action!
Love is in the air, and Valentine's Day is almost upon us! This seems like the perfect time to dedicate an article to our special someones. Having a significant other share your hobbies is a wonderful thing, and hopefully this article will spark some ideas on how to approach this holiday, no matter what your relationship status is. That's right, we're going to mix love and EDH all in one!
(Don't worry, we won't end up like Alirios, Enraptured.)
We explored a similar topic a long time ago when we discussed getting your significant other to play Magic. However, that article was mainly focused on getting your significant other to play for the first time, to get them hooked on this wonderful hobby.
This article will be somewhat different; this time I want to focus on those lovely couples who are already playing together. Or better yet, fellow EDH players who are finding themselves slowly bonding beyond the typical EDH games. This feels like a somewhat sensitive subject; the last thing I want to do is promote unwanted advances at the game table. I have, however, watched several relationships blossom locally at my LGS, with EDH as a shared interest, and I'd like to hope that my readers are mature enough to understand the difference. Today, my aim is to help explore some great gift ideas for that fellow EDH player you can't help but adore (except when they play Blightsteel Colossus).
And hey, some of these ideas might also apply to a person's upcoming birthday, or other gift-giving events! I get a lot of requests for topics like this, so I hope you'll find something useful and EDH-related to share with the folks you love. Let's begin!
Giving Your Heart
Expressing affection via gift-giving is one of my personal love languages. The random and occasional little present is a beautiful way of showing how you were thinking of that special person, even while you were apart. Receiving those gifts, of course, also fills my heart like nothing else.
Of course, it's never the gift itself or its monetary value. It's just the act of giving that means so much. Not everyone might feel this way, but it's a more common sentiment than it first appears to be, so before we continue any further and someone tries to pull a Venser (literally giving their heart to someone else), please don't ever feel pressured to "match" or outshine your Valentine. It's a pit I see many fall into when coming to me for EDH gift advice. We'll find something in your budget that will resonate, I promise!
Valentine's Day Cards
Let's start with the easy one! Everyone loves a good Valentine's Day card... especially when that card has EDH cards inside it! I'm not under the illusion that your Valentine's Day is going to be solely based on EDH and EDH-related gifts, but just adding a few cute staples might be an excellent, sneaky way to add to the surprise. Pulling out that trade binder that's been collecting dust and picking a few things just for them is a perfect way to show your devotion.
Looking to buy a new card, but not sure what to get? Well, you play with this person, don't you?! What kind of commander do they play? Is there a nice $5 card you noticed that they don't have? Are they always eyeing the Local Game Store's card case in any particular section? I'm sure your other pod friends might have an idea or two, as well!
Know the best part about EDHREC? It's EDHREC. There are a lot of ways to figure out what sort of cards someone may want. If you know this special someone's deck, of course you can use EDHREC as you always do and find some cards from that commander. Or you can be sneaky like me and just look up some of the most popular cards in EDH! There are a number of staples that belong in almost any deck of its color.
For example, there isn't a single person out there who wouldn't appreciate a second Rhystic Study or Cyclonic Rift! I own over 20 decks, and even I need more Rifts! They get very, very expensive when buying duplicates. Some of these cards are not cheap, however, and we're not going to limit you to just those. Rhystic Study too expensive? Get a far cheaper Mystic Remora! (Want to know a secret? Some would argue it's even better then Rhystic in higher-power settings!) Show how much you care by helping them win quickly!
Or, if you don't want to break any bank, what about giving them your heart with a 50-cent copy of Gonti's Aether Heart? Or a Khalni Heart Expedition? Or a Heartstone, or Golem's Heart, and so on? Tons of Magic cards will let you give people your heart without ending up like Venser.
Still not sure? Well, I have a few more ideas!
Finishing Each Other's Sentences
Another card gift idea is combo pieces! Did you know that you can just win with Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood? Does your love interest own one but somehow not the other? Let's help them out!
What about those who want to win by drawing their deck? There's a whole new Laboratory Maniac that I could bet decent money they don't own yet! Anyway, there's a whole bunch of options when going the card route. If you don't have a Local Game Store nearby, you can also buy a lot of these cards for amazing prices online. Either check out TCG Player or Card Kingdom for great deals! (I've been using these for years, and I expect a lot of readers have too, they're incredible.)
Spellslinging in Style
I've known quite a number of people who have problems trying to pick cards out as gifts, Valentine's Day or not. Sometimes you just have that person who owns every card they could ever want. Heck, maybe it's that level of dedication that made you fall so head-over-heels for them. Don't worry: we still have plenty of options.
Sometimes cute or silly deck sleeves and playmats are all you need as a small gift. Obviously you can check out TCG or Card Kingdom for their various sleeves and playmats. However, I like to get creative sometimes. For example, did you know for my deck bag I use an anime cat backpack? It's cute, and it holds up to seven decks at any given time!
Don't want to be cute? Half the EDH players I know use the Home Depot Part Organizer for their deck cases. Only $20, and if your special someone doesn't have one, oh, boy, are they in for a treat!
Still not impressed? We'll have to pull out the big guns, then!
I won't speak for everyone, but unique and hand-crafted gifts are my favorite. It supports fellow artists, and it makes gift-giving feel even more special! I have a few suggestions for those looking for a gift you won't find with large retailers.
First up is card alters! There are so many talented artists who'll be happy to help make your someone's commander come to life! First artist who comes to mind is ClarkAlters. Just look at this amazing work!
I've always been envious of people who can create unique designs for their cards. When I started dating my fiancé, we often gave each other alters of our commanders. Have someone who plays Daretti, Scrap Savant? Well, an alter of Kif Kroker from Futurama is a hilarious idea, trust me.
Maybe alters isn't their thing, however. Let's say they're set on Magic: the Gathering items like sleeves and deck boxes. Don't worry, I'm not done yet! Have you heard of Adam from The Schwaggering? He has a lot of EDH-related clothes to check out. Adam is clearly a fan of puns, many of which are perfect for Valentine's Day!
Sorry, blue players, this is one shirt you can't Counterspell! I think that's my favorite of the bunch. Anyways, both of these artists are very professional and, even more importantly, approachable. If you're looking for gift ideas, they've got them in spades!
Finally, we're not going to simply finish our creative section without some 3D prints. This article was written by me, after all!
However, instead of creating something myself, someone brought to my attention some awesome card dividers by Boardlandia. There's no gift better than one that slightly hints to your special someone that they need to organize their mess of card boxes! This seems like an odd final mention, I know, but I can't stress to you how annoyed I get with those cardboard dividers constantly wearing over time. Splurge on some plastic dividers and never worry about them again.
The Power of Love!
Now for the part we've all been waiting for! Let's make a deck worthy of the Valentine occasion. I've made a previous deck with Tana, the Bloodsower and Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder as a couple deck, but I think it's time for an upgrade! Gosh, there's so many to choose from, though....
I have to say the most difficult part of this entire article is deciding on how to make a Valentine's day deck. There are just so many options. Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis was my first option. It's an amazing budget deck and I love Group Hug. However, I think I've put you through quite a number of those decks already.
Next up was Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix and Tymna the Weaver. They both synergize well, after all, with Tymna giving Kydele lots of mana production. However, I think these are the wrong Partner cards to choose... the ones from Battlebond are the clear answer, because their commitment to each other resonates so strongly.
There are so many, however - which do we choose? If you want to hear something embarrassing, I originally chose Rowan Kenrith and Will Kenrith. Guess what? They don't share the last name because they're married. Whoops! With that potential devastating mistake successfully avoided, let's finally pick today's commanders!
Redeeming the Unredeemable
That's right! We're choosing Regna, the Redeemer and Krav, the Unredeemed! What better couple to embark upon a Valentine's quest? Regna even gives Krav lots of hearts. Those hearts happen to be inside the Warriors she makes, but still, it's romantic, right?
Originally I planned to create two separate decks for each of these commanders; there was something cute about playing the decks together in a pod that I wanted to express, and still strongly encourage others to do so. However, Regna and Krav just work too well together to separate. Maybe that just goes to show the power of love after all? An inseparable bond that's devastating on the battlefield!
What's so devastating about Regna and Krav? How well they synergize with each other! No matter how many times Krav, the Unredeemed goes on a rampage and sacrifices his loyal minions, Regna, the Redeemer is there to replenish his ranks. In turn, Krav, the Unredeemed is swollen with unyielding love and gains the powers (and cards) to one-shot even the toughest opponents!
I honestly don't think we need to do a breakdown of today's article on card selection for this deck. Any sort of lifegain or token creation will immediately set both off to create a powerful domino effect. I've never seen a commander(s) do every single thing you could ever want in commander. They give you life and cards, which result in more creatures! The price? Sacrificing some creatures, creatures you're already getting by sacrificing other creatures in the first place! What even is this!? Want to make this little interaction even more devastating? Add in cards like Blood Artist and watch everyone fade to oblivion just by taking your turn!
Finally, remember Sanguine Bond and the Exquisite Blood I mentioned earlier as gift ideas? With all this card draw, we can quickly find our win condition! There's a few tutors and other card combos that will make this very durable deck finish the game. Assuming, of course, that they don't die to Zulaport Cutthroat first! If you're considering giving someone an entire deck as a gift, I can't think of a better representation for this special day.
Redeeming the Unredeemable
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
I really enjoyed this article. I know some people view Valentine's Day as an excuse for businesses to sell cards and flowers, but give me any excuse to celebrate the things I love with the people I love, and I'll be happy to take it.
Anyways, I hope this article generated some fun ideas for those who were looking to celebrate the holiday. I touched on this briefly before, but it's been a wild ride the last few years watching some of my pod players fall in love with both the hobby and each other. For me, this hints not just at the growth of EDH as a format, but also at the normalization of card gaming in general over the years. When you have large social gatherings, especially those encouraged by games like Magic, friendships are formed, and sometimes relationships are too. At least locally, I've seen a huge spike in both of those things over the last eight years, just through EDH. Hopefully we'll continue to see this grow even more as time goes on.
Until next time,